Day 59, Year 6 Back to Cape Town
Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Weather: Major Change-Overcast, Foggy, Drizzly, COOL
Location: Simon’s Town, Western Cape, South Africa

What a difference a day can make in the weather. The beautiful weather we have been having has pulled a disappearing act. Today was totally overcast, with clouds covering the mountains, constant drizzle, and a chilly 64 degree F air temperature. It’s back to the weather we had on the way down from Richards Bay, so the polar fleece and wool socks are out once again.

We took the 8:19 am train into Cape Town and headed for the Immigration Office to check into Cape Town/Simon’s Town. Folks who went in yesterday only had to fill out one form and it took no more than five minutes. Today we were given five forms (one of them four pages) that made no sense for a sailboat as they were definitely for large ships with huge crew, but the woman insisted that we fill them out, so we did. Now we have a folder on file in Cape Town, so when it is time to leave, it should be quite easy. Of course, the operative word here is “should.” We then hiked to the Brazilian Consulate where we were told by one person to fill out the forms we had downloaded on the internet. So we did and then we waited for another person to process the paperwork. She immediately told us that you cannot submit paper forms but must fill out the forms online. We have no idea why one person standing right next to another person didn’t know this, but so be it. Then we were told that once we fill out the paperwork online, we will need to print out the last page of our application and bring that along with boat documentation and crew lists back to office. THEN you have to go to the bank and pay via a bank transfer to pay for the Visa. But the real killer is the cost of a Brazilian Visa for US citizens. It is now $200 per person. Somehow we thought it was more like $75 per person. Or maybe we knew about the higher amount and just didn’t quite process it, but $200 per person is just more than we think we want to pay. We have never paid anything like this for a Visa to another other country and people from no other country seeking a Brazilian Visa have to pay nearly so much. We are wondering what the US did to Brazil to cause this. So now we are thinking seriously of not stopping there. If we were going to spend a few months there we wouldn’t mind paying so much, but for a one- to two-week stop, the amount is just too much. Not stopping in Brazil means a VERY LONG passage from St. Helena to Barbados with a possible stop at Ascension Island, but we’ll just have to go for it.

After finishing with the business matters, we hiked on to the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront to do a little food shopping. We had to walk right by Bruce’s office on the way and we were pleasantly surprised to find him there. He thought he would not be in until tomorrow as friends from Australia have been visiting. But they were spending the morning at the Aquarium which is almost next door, so he took advantage of the time to slip into the office. We did lunch on the cheap today by buying sandwiches at the Pick ‘n Pay and then eating on a bench overlooking the water. And then we did a bit of grocery shopping and hopped on a bus back to the train station.

Tomorrow I go shopping once again. Irene and Duncan of Moose have a car and Irene has offered to take one person from each of the boats we arrived here with for a Christmas shopping trip. We will get the food for our planned get-together on Christmas Day and will buy the presents for our gift exchange. And when we get back, it will be time to begin baking the pies and making preparations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While I am away shopping, Mark hopes to get the new alternator installed. Let’s hope the installation of that costly piece of equipment goes smoothly!

We heard from our son Justin this morning and he said that he, Jo, and Ziggy will be staying in Albuquerque and then have to take a long route to London. They have to fly to Chicago, then to Miami, and then on to London. The total flight time will be 24-hours.